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Products>Salvation by Allegiance Alone: Rethinking Faith, Works, and the Gospel of Jesus the King

Salvation by Allegiance Alone: Rethinking Faith, Works, and the Gospel of Jesus the King

ISBN: 9781493410071

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We are saved by faith when we trust that Jesus died for our sins. This is the gospel, or so we are taught. But what is faith? And does this accurately summarize the gospel? Because faith is frequently misunderstood and the climax of the gospel misidentified, the gospel’s full power remains untapped. While offering a fresh proposal for what faith means within a biblical theology of salvation, Matthew Bates presses the church toward a new precision: we are saved solely by allegiance to Jesus the king. Instead of faith alone, Christians must speak about salvation by allegiance alone. The book includes discussion questions for students, pastors, and church groups and a foreword by Scot McKnight.

Resource Experts

Key Features

  • Examines the concept of faith in the context of salvation
  • Uses the idea of loyalty and allegiance to reframe salvation by faith


  • Foreword by Scot McKnight
  • Faith Is Not
  • Loyalty and the Full Gospel
  • Jesus Proclaims the Gospel
  • Faith as Allegiance
  • Questions about Allegiance Alone
  • Resurrection into New Creation
  • Restoring the Idol of God
  • Justification and Allegiance Alone
  • Practicing Allegiance

Top Highlights

“In reading Paul’s summary of the gospel, we quickly recognize that the gospel is not at its most basic level a tale about me and my quest for salvation (or even about ‘us’ and ‘our’ quest), but rather it is a grand, cosmic story about God’s Son and what he has done.” (Page 31)

“Anticipating my conclusions, the gospel is the power-releasing story of Jesus’s life, death for sins, resurrection, and installation as king, but that story only makes sense in the wider framework of the stories of Israel and creation. The gospel is not in the first instance a story about heaven, hell, making a decision, raising your hand after praying a certain prayer, justification by faith alone, trusting that Jesus’s righteousness is sufficient, or any putative human tendencies toward self-salvation through good works.4 It is, in the final analysis, most succinctly good news about the enthronement of Jesus the atoning king as he brings these wider stories to a climax.” (Page 30)

“The point is that real biblical faith is not a general positive mindset or a blind optimism but is directed toward a defined object—and it is the trustworthiness of the object that sources and fixes faith’s genuineness. So if we want to grow in faith, we should study and contemplate God’s extraordinary reliability.” (Pages 23–24)

“If we synthesize the biblical data, we discover that saving allegiance includes three basic dimensions: mental affirmation that the gospel is true, professed fealty to Jesus alone as the cosmic Lord, and enacted loyalty through obedience to Jesus as the king.” (Page 92)

Praise for the Print Edition

In this well-argued book, Matthew Bates recovers a deeper sense of what the act of faith consists of as it is depicted in Scripture. He wisely observes that the story of the rich young ruler in the Synoptic Gospels presumes that salvation depends on certain human actions. How those actions are related to salvation by faith alone is a central question raised by this book and elegantly answered.

—Gary Anderson, Hesburgh Professor of Catholic Theology, University of Notre Dame

In this bold, provocative book, Matthew Bates challenges Christians of all traditions to reexamine basic assumptions about the gospel, grace, the nature of salvation, and the meaning of ‘faith.’ His argument for saving faith as embodied, enacted allegiance is rooted in solid scholarship and presented with both zeal for the kingdom and concern for the church. This is a much-needed corrective to many misunderstandings.

—Michael J. Gorman, Raymond E. Brown Professor of Biblical Studies and Theology, St. Mary’s Seminary and University

Matthew Bates argues that faith or believing is not mere assent, not easy believism, but covenantal loyalty to the God who saves his people through the Lord Jesus Christ. Bates forces us to rethink the meaning of faith, the gospel, and works with a view to demonstrating their significance for true Christian discipleship. This will be a controversial book, but perhaps it is the controversy we need!

—Michael F. Bird, lecturer in theology, Ridley College, Melbourne, Australia

Bates makes a powerful argument that the New Testament writings find their climax in their portrait of Christ as the enthroned king. The right response to this king is not simply trust or intellectual assent but rather wholehearted allegiance. Bates’s reframing of faith, works, and the gospel is a necessary correction to prevalent distortions of Jesus’s gospel. This is an important argument written by a creative, careful, and trustworthy biblical interpreter.

—Joshua Jipp, assistant professor of New Testament, Trinity Evangelical Divinity School

Matthew W. Bates (PhD, University of Notre Dame) is assistant professor of theology at Quincy University in Quincy, Illinois. He is the author of The Hermeneutics of the Apostolic Proclamation and The Birth of the Trinity.

Sample Pages from the Print Edition


6 ratings

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  1. Matt DeVore

    Matt DeVore


  2. Amy Legault

    Amy Legault


    Bates brings clarity to the tension we see between works, faith, salvation, the law, and so on. This rich discussion offers compelling evidence and conviction for the reader to evaluate their soteriological framework. It would be edifying, challenging, and enriching for scholars and laypersons alike.
  3. Dakota Sorenson
  4. Jamin Bradley
    Only a few times in your life do you come across a book that changes everything and causes the most essential puzzle pieces of Scripture to finally click right into place. This book did just that for me, and for that reason it has earned its place in my top five books of all time. After preaching straight through all four gospels over the last decade, I was faced over and over again with the stark realization that what I had always been taught about salvation and judgment didn't seem to quite match the things that Jesus actually said. It seemed I could either have salvation the hard Jesus way and let it effect every last ounce of me, or the easy Paul way and just "think" my way into salvation. I've longed for a teaching that could marry what both Jesus and Paul said, but almost all of the teaching I came across seemed to act as though Paul's words trumped Jesus's and that I should just stick with what Paul had to say, especially in his letter to the Romans. But then I found this book. Matthew Bates is bold enough to dive head first into the riddles of the Scriptures and point out passages that many pastors (and even theologians) are quite unwilling to acknowledge. Not only is Bates's understanding grounded in all the key themes of the New Testament that sometimes get ignored (Jesus as King, resurrection bodies, new heaven and new earth, the image of God, etc.), but it's guided both by scholarly studies and a desire to follow the Holy Spirit. I expected a scholarly book that in the end might say very little. Instead, I got an unexpectedly beautiful book that I will always look back on as one of those rarities that clarified my thinking forever and altered the direction of my preaching.
  5. Alex Stadler

    Alex Stadler


    Very well written and incredibly researched. Worth reading if you are looking for excellent contemporary scholarship on the topic of Justification.
  6. kim jae kwang

    kim jae kwang


    Bonjour, je voudrais savoir si ce livre est aussi en langue française. Il y a un nombre important des livres qui m'intéressent mais ils sont presque tous en français. Si vous avez des livres en français, merci de les mettre aussi en ligne. Bien cordialement, Diadia
Save 25% off during the Memorial Day Sale!


Regular price: $24.99
Save $6.25 (25%)